Trump: American roads, bridges should be built with American materials, American hands

Marcia Doyle Headshot
Updated Feb 9, 2019

donald truck in front of american flag

Expanding his 2017 “Buy American” directive, President Trump has signed an executive order that asks recipients of federal funding for infrastructure projects to use American materials, says an Associated Press report.

“We want American roads, bridges and railways and everything else to be built with American iron, American steel, American concrete and American hands,” said Trump in signing the executive order.

According to the report, the new executive order uses more succinct wording than the previous one, which asked federal agencies to buy American whenever possible. It also applies to federal assistance such as loans, grants and interest subsidies.

The order specifically calls out iron and steel products, saying that “produced in the United States” means that “all manufacturing processes, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States,” according to the executive order.

In addition, the order says that “manufactured products” means construction materials such as aluminum, plastics and polymer-based products such as polyvinyl chloride pipe, “aggregates such as concrete,” glass (including optical fiber) and lumber.

Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, told reporters the previous executive order had prompted a $24 billion increase in the purchase of American-made products, driving U.S. government spending on foreign goods to its lowest point in 10 years, said the AP.

Navarro said around 30 federal agencies award more than $700 billion each year to more than 40,000 organizations working on projects such as bridges, sewer systems, broadband internet installation and cybersecurity.

Under the order, within 90 days of January 31, the head of each executive department and agency administering an infrastructure program will start to encourage federal infrastructure aid recipients to use products produced by the United States in “every contract, subcontract, purchase order or sub-award.” Within 120 days, these agencies are directed to issue a report that details the tools, techniques, terms or conditions that either have been or could be used to maximize American-produced materials.